5 Reasons To Be Optimistic About New Jersey Devils Playoff Chances

Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a review giving him a goal during the first period against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on November 18, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jack Hughes #86 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a review giving him a goal during the first period against the New York Rangers at Prudential Center on November 18, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New Jersey Devils defenseman John Marino (6): Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Defensive Progression

The New Jersey Devils defense has been astronomically bad. We’ve been saying that not all high-danger chances are treated the same. While the Devils are right in the middle of the pack in terms of high-danger chances against per 60 at 5v5. Those stats are according to Natural Stat Trick.

However, the Devils’ defense has very clearly been worse than league average. The high-danger chances are more like extreme-danger chances. 2-on-1s and major rebound chances are much more likely to be goals than simple shots in front. The Devils are giving up terrible chances in just about every game. What’s worse is they are going in the net.

The issue is we knew the Devils were going to struggle defensively. They lost Damon Severson and Ryan Graves in the offseason and replaced them with Miller, who was injured for most of the season, Kevin Bahl, and Luke Hughes. There were always going to be growing pains. It’s just one month into the season. We have to be patient with the defense. While a trade for Nikita Zadorov or Chris Tanev might make sense, the Devils just have to avoid rash maneuvers.

The defense will get better. Luke Hughes has been fine defensively, and he could eventually be good. Dougie Hamilton always struggles at the beginning of the season in his own end. He’s been great offensively, so that makes up a little for his defensive lapses. That will figure itself out. Jonas Siegenthaler and John Marino are more of a mystery. They’ve made too many mistakes. We’ve seen this from both of them before, but this is the longest stretch we can remember. However, they have gotten out of it before. We have to hope they can get out of it again.